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Charlestown Alleges Contempt

Charlestown — Former Selectman Doug Ring has not made any payments under a settlement agreement to reimburse the town for a $6,600 deposit he received to purchase a pool cover, and now the town is asking the court to enforce the order and even consider jailing Ring, according to court documents.

Meanwhile, Ring, who is not represented by legal counsel, has filed a motion asking Judge John Yazinski, who signed the settlement agreement, to recuse himself, alleging both a conflict of interest and a personal bias.

This is the first time Ring has raised such issues in court filings, though he claims to have discussed them with the town and its attorney.

Charlestown’s attorney, Adele Fulton, of Lebanon, filed a motion for contempt earlier this month, outlining the settlement agreement signed by the town and Ring in September. Fulton’s motion states that Ring agreed to pay a first installment of $1,000 six days after he signed the settlement and make monthly payments of $550 until the debt was paid in full in August 2014.

Before filing the contempt motion, Fulton said “demand letters” were sent to Ring and on Dec. 2, Ring promised in a phone conversation with Fulton he would “make a payment within the next couple of weeks,” the court document states. No payment was received nor did Ring send money after making another promise to Selectboard member Art Grenier on Dec. 18.

“As of February 8, 2014, Mr. Ring had not made even one payment towards the $6,600 he owes the Town. As of that date, he owed $3,200 under the court-approved agreement.”

The case stems from 2011 when Selectboard members voted to buy a pool cover and a winterizer blower from Ring’s business. Ring, a former board member who lost re-election in March 2012, cashed the check early in 2012 and delivered the blower but not the cover.

In previous interviews, Ring acknowledged cashing the check and claimed he ordered the cover. But the town, which repeatedly asked Ring to return the money before taking legal action, said it has proof the cover for the town pool was never ordered.

Fulton asked the court to order Ring to pay all amounts due within 10 days of the court’s order, make all future payments and pay attorney fees and court costs.

In his motion to have Yazinski of the Fifth Circuit Court recuse himself, Ring said he has had matters before the judge previously and successfully appealed some of the judge’s decision to a higher court. Since then, Ring writes, whenever he has been involved in other cases before Yazinski, they have been “immediately transferred to another judge.”

Ring claims Yazinski has not allowed him speak in his courtroom until this case because of either a “personal bias of Mr. Ring resulting from the previous personal cases.”

Ring said several months ago he would no longer comment publicly on the case.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.